Golf

3 Monster Groups to Watch at the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge

At long last, the Charles Schwab Challenge, the first event on the PGA Tour in three months, has arrived.

With a fantastic field of 148 players that includes 16 of the top 20 players in the world, led by world number one Rory McIlroy, the Charles Schwab Challenge, which will once again be contested at famed Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, has a plethora of amazing threesomes teeing it up in the first two rounds.

Former U.S. Open and Players champion Webb Simpson will play alongside Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau. Two-time winner Phil Mickelson, fresh off a loss to Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning, will tee it up on Thursday and Friday with defending champion Kevin Na and reigning U.S. Open champ Gary Woodland.

Among many others, those groupings will certainly be entertaining to watch. Let’s face it. We’ll take all the groups right now. However, there are three monster groups in the first two rounds that will be getting a little extra attention.

Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth

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And they’re the three best friends that anyone could have, they’re the three best friends that anyone could have…oh, sorry. Is nobody else thinking of The Hangover when looking at this trio of longtime buddies?

Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and Jordan Spieth have long been three of the most popular players on the PGA Tour and they’ll tee off together at 1:55 p.m. Eastern at the Charles Schwab Challenge on Thursday. Spieth, the three-time major champion who was once the No. 1 player in the world but is now ranked 56th, will be looking for his first win in nearly three years. He won at Colonial four years ago and is certainly looking to have a good week after just one top-10 finish in his last eight events.

Justin Thomas, the fourth-ranked player in the world, comes into the Charles Schwab Challenge with three finishes of sixth or better in five events in 2020, including a win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Rickie Fowler, the only non-major winner in the group (which I’m sure Thomas and Spieth constantly remind him about), has played six events in 2020, his best finish coming at that same Sentry Tournament of Champions where he tied for fifth.

Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Bryson DeChambeau

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This fantastic threesome features two former world No. 1 players in Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose, who will be joined by current world No. 13 Bryson DeChambeau. This trio will tee off from the 10th hole at 8:45 a.m. Eastern.

The shutdown of the PGA Tour in March certainly wasn’t great news for DeChambeau, who had finished fifth or better in his last three events before the golf world shut down. He’ll look to regain that momentum this week. Fifth-ranked Dustin Johnson, who looked solid in the recent skins game at Seminole, will be looking for better results than what he was getting before the season was halted, his last finish a T-48 at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Justin Rose has had the most success at Colonial of the three players in this group, winning this event in 2017. However, usually one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour, Rose has missed the cut in three of his last four events.

Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka

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Just look at the star power in this threesome. Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Brooks Koepka are the top three players in the world and they’ll play the first two rounds of the Charles Schwab Challenge together, teeing off on the first hole right after the Thomas/Fowler/Spieth trio at 2:06 p.m. Eastern.

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy was playing some of the best golf of his career when the PGA Tour was shut down, finishing fifth or better in each of his last seven tournaments, including a win at the WGC-HSBC Champions. With a chance to complete the career Grand Slam later this year at The Masters, McIlroy has committed to the first three PGA Tour events in this restart and is likely to be right there in the mix come Sunday afternoon.

Jon Rahm was playing stellar golf in his own right. In his last eight tournaments, the second-ranked player in the world has finished outside the top 10 only once, a stretch that began with two wins. Things weren’t going quite as well for third-ranked Brooks Koepka in 2020, who has finished better than 34th just once in five starts, including a missed cut at The Honda Classic. But the Charles Schwab Challenge isn’t a major so he might not care what happens this week anyway.

The PGA Tour is back, ladies and gentlemen. And the Charles Schwab Challenge is stacked.

*All stats courtesy of Official World Golf Ranking